I’m always really excited whenever Fall comes around each year but especially this year since I’m one year into sewing my own wardrobe! Even though I live in Texas and our Autumn weather is pretty mild, I still love to sew with all the cozy fabrics.
When Style Maker Fabrics wanted to collaborate with me for their fall fabric launch (eek!!) I got to work right away dreaming up an outfit that had all the fall vibes but one that I wouldn’t start sweating in right away, ha. I also wanted to make pieces that I knew would be interchangeable and work with the rest of my wardrobe.
Linen is my favorite fabric to work with so I knew right away that I would be using it for this outfit. I love linen because of the slubby texture, and the lived-in flowing garments it makes when sewn up. There also so many benefits to wearing linen beyond just appearance! It’s breathable, durable and is considered one of the strongest of all natural fibers. I also love how it only gets softer with washing and I know it’s going to last through years of wear.
The Wrap Skirt
The Peppermint Wrap Skirt has been on my “to-make” list for a while (a free pattern!) so I started with that and built up the outfit from there. I picked this gorgeous plaid linen cotton blend shirting because I knew it would be lightweight enough for our mild Autumn weather but still has that classic fall check. It has a soft brushed feel similar to flannel, but has the bouncy and airy qualities of linen.
I sewed a straight size D in the skirt and even though it’s drafted for a height of 5’7″ (I’m 5’4″) I decided not to shorten it because I wanted a longer length. It needed no modifications and was a pretty straight-forward sew with clear instructions. I would definitely make another! One thing to keep in mind is that linen relaxes a bit through wearing, so I did need to re-tighten the wrap tie after a while.
A Classic Tee
What is more classic than a basic Tee? I debated for a bit on what to pair with the skirt and settled with the Stellan Tee by French Navy Patterns (another free pattern!) since I knew it would go great not only with this skirt, but with the rest of my closet. A short sleeve tee is also great for layering and for when the day warms up. I LOVE this cinnamon shade and the cotton modal jersey fabric is so soft with a good balance of structure and drape.
I sewed my Stellan Tee in a size S which was a size up from what my measurements put me at. I think for my next one I will size up to a M for a little more of an oversized feel.
The instructions are well written and this was a great pattern for my first sewn t-shirt! Well technically my second…I made a toile (aka test version) in an inexpensive fabric to get a feel for the pattern. It even walks you through adding a back neck reinforcement strip which I think gives it such a professional look. The only modification I made was shorten the sleeves by 2″.
Sewing with knits – without a serger!
I’ve been working a lot more with knit fabrics (even though I told myself I wouldn’t even go down that road when I first started sewing clothes) and it’s actually been enjoyable! If you’ve heard anything about working with knits it’s that it can be challenging. It does take practice and some trial and error but I’ve found it’s really not too bad, even without a serger! Here are a few tips I’ve learned sewing knits without a serger or overlocker and some other general tips for sewing with knits:
- use a narrow zigzag stitch for the seams – I’ve found that sewed a 1.5mm wide and 2.5mm long stitch work best on my machine. Experimenting on scrap fabric is a good idea though!
- finish or neaten the seams with a wide zig-zag stitch – I did 3mm wide and 2.5mm long.
- adjust the tension – I had to experiment a bit with this but for this medium weight knit fabric a tighter tension (around 5 for me) worked well. For heavier or more stable weight knits you may need to lower the tension to around 3-4.
- use a ballpoint needle – sometimes called a “jersey needle”
- try not to pull the fabric when sewing, gently guide it through.
- press seams with steam – gently pressing the seams helps if your stitches are wavy. Also make sure you’re using an appropriate heat for the fabric you’re using. I will usually only press for just a little to make sure I’m not melting any of the elastic in the fabric.
- use a double needle – This is just an option, but double needles, or twin needles, are inexpensive and give a professional finish to your hems. And they’re not as hard to use as they look!
For my outer layer I wanted a cardigan but not something too warm or heavy. After some pattern hunting I found that the Helen’s Closet Moss Jacket was most what I was envisioning to complete this look – a lightweight jacket that’s easy to throw on over anything. I knew I wanted to sew it in linen and this soft washed linen is my favorite to work with from Style Maker Fabrics.
The Moss Jacket pattern has the potential for so many variations but I went with the longer version (View A) with long sleeve and the front band facing. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5’6″ so I followed the instructions in the pattern (which is super helpful to include those by the way) and shortened the jacket length by 1″. I also shortened the sleeves by 1″ but maybe didn’t need to since I like how they look rolled up.
After attaching the sleeves, I felt like they were a little too big, so I took them in about 1/2″ from the armpit down. I still think they look a little too bulky, but it doesn’t bother me enough to bring them in anymore. If I make another, I may try and adjust the sleeve pattern before sewing to get a slimmer sleeve or try sewing a size down.
Overall I’m really happy with how everything turned out and really enjoyed working with Style Maker Fabrics to sew up this look! It’s still amazes me how I can sew up an entire outfit with quality fabrics customized for my personal style and that can effortlessly fit into the rest of my closet.
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!